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Workshop report “Report on digitization and restoration of documentary thesis films”

You can see a graphic in black and yellow with the words Film Restored.

Sun 25.09.

The documentary format plays a central role in the history of Babelsberg’s Konrad Wolf film school, which was founded in 1954 as the first German film school. A shortage of resources in the post-war era meant the students shot mostly documentaries. Documentary filmmaking eventually became a permanent part of the curriculum. The school’s cooperative venture with East German television gave the students an outlet for their films, as well as providing them with financial and material resources. The thesis films from the 1970s and 1980s were shot on color reversal stock and exhibit characteristics specific to that film material. The Orwo color reversal stock used by default was not very sensitive, making it particularly unsuited to shooting in low light. The East German broadcaster made a strictly-rationed amount of far more sensitive Agfa-Gevaert stock available to students for selected scenes. During digitization, the combination of the two different film stocks raised ethical questions about the restoration process relating to how to tackle the visual discontinuity of grain and color characteristics. 

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